Beverly Petroglyph Site

This rockart boulder was named after its finder – Scott Silsby who has spent many years studying and publishing Indian lifeways in the Middle Atlantic area. It was found at Pimmit Run on the Virginia side of the Potomac River. It is the property of the National Park Service. The designs were pecked into the boulder’s surface. The boulder is micaschist, and due to this material’s surface weakness or poor weather resistance, the boulder surface probably dates to the Late Woodland. The anthropomorphic design showing three-fingered hands(?) does occur in versions of eastern rockart (Wellman 1979). Rockart-associated cupules are common.

​The rockart boulder known as Silsby’s Rock was published in Hranicky (2010) and is a large boulder with cupules and a design (Figure 9). It was moved from its original location to the Great Falls Park’s Visitors Center and is maintained by the National Park Service.

Named here after Robert Beverly (1722) who reported the site. The Virginia Rockart Survey attempted to locate the glyph and site but, for the present, it is lost. Beverley reports:

            By the Falls of James River Colonel Byrd’s Land, there lyes a Rock which I have seen. About a mile from the River, wherein are fairly imprest several Marks like the Footsteps of a gigantick Man, each Step being about five Foot asunder: These they aver to be the Track of their God.

 The site was still visible a hundred and fifty years later (Howison 1848), but the glyph apparently has been moved.

The rockart section contains the following pages:

Investigations at Short Mountain Petroglyph Site (44Snxx), Shenandoah County, Virginia were performed by the Virginia Rockart Survey. The site is a summer solstice site and probably dates around 1400 AD. This site has two incised handprints and makes use of a natural impression in a large boulder which in shadow appears to be a footprint. Also, the site has natural concentric rings which appear in walls of the site area. The concentric ring is found at Paint Lick Mountain (44TZ13) and numerous sites in the western hemisphere. Also, the Mount Airy mound is located within 1500 meters of this site.

The site was recorded by Jack Hranicky and Dale Collins. The first observation of the footprint was 2:30 pm on May 18, 1991. In discussing the site with people in the city of Mt Jackson, several people indicated that they had seen the footprint – a local Indian legend.

There have been five trips to the site. On May 16, 1998, the team cut down a tree that was growing next to the foot-print boulder because it was dis-lodging the boulder’s position.

The concentric rings were the major focus at the site. The mound was probably chosen because of the rings. See Rockart, Nickelsville Site, and Beverly Site.

The natural rings work as a day clock. As the sun moves across the sky, a pointer rock makes a shadow in the geological circles.

Short Mountain Petroglyph Site, Shenandoah County, Virginia

Silsby’s Rock, Fairfax County, Virginia


The Nicklesville footprint is on the property of the Edwins in Scott County, Virginia. It was discovered by his father in 1963. The impression fits an average human left foot. It is classified as rockart, but more research is needed.


Bill N. Dingus
Rt 1, Box 134
Nickelsville, VA 24271

Nicklesville Footprint, Scott County, Virginia